Sweet Soy Simmered Kabocha Squash

Serves 4


  • 1 small or ½ medium kabocha
  • 1 cup water (or dashi broth*)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • dash of salt

Dashi Broth* - Makes 4 cups

  • 1 strip kombu kelp, about 5” long
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1¼ cups katsuo (bonito) flakes


  • Japanese Nabe pot with wooden drop lid (or parchment paper)


Optional: Debra's recipe calls for 1 cup of water or dashi broth.  To make your own Dashi Broth is easy!

  1. Wipe kombu with a damp cloth
  2. Add water and kombu to a medium-sized pan.  Let the kombu sit in the cold water for 20 minutes
  3. Bring water and kombu to a boil. Remove kombu just as water starts to boil (either discard or save to use for another recipe or application)
  4. Add bonito flakes to the boiling water then turn off the heat. Let flakes sit for 2 minutes (they will sink to the bottom)
  5. Set a tightly-woven mesh strainer over a mixing bowl.  Line the strainer with cheesecloth or a paper towel.  Pour the stock through the strainer. Stock keeps for 3-5 days in the refrigerator

Note: The used fish flakes and kombu can be reserved for niban dashi (“number two” dashi; a weaker version)

Prep & Cook Squash

  1. Wash the squash and cut in half. With a spoon, scrape out the seeds and stringy parts of the squash
  2. Cut the squash into 2” chunks (they don’t have to be uniform), leaving the skin on
  3. In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup dashi broth or water and turn on heat to medium-high
  4. Add squash to the pan in one layer and add sugar and sake
  5. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit just inside the pan (or use a wooden drop lid). Press atop the squash and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the squash is soft (a toothpick should go into the squash easily) and the liquid is almost entirely absorbed

Glaze & Serve

  1. Add soy sauce and salt and stir to coat the squash. Simmer 2 additional minutes, covered again with the parchment (or drop lid)
  2. Remove from pan and use the reduced pan liquid as a glaze to brush on the cooked squash